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Behind Enemy Lines of Avs potential first-round opponents: Dallas Stars

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Original blueprints for American Airlines Arena, 1999. Photo by Tim Sharp/AP

DALLAS – Playoffs are just around the corner and it’s time for Colorado Hockey Now to check out the competition of who might be the first-round opponent.  First up, the Dallas Stars.

Right now the Stars are in the second wild-card spot with 43-28-5 record, for a total of 91 points.  If the playoffs started Tuesday, it would be Avs-Stars in the first round. Nashville has the same record as Dallas, but are ranked in the first wild-card spot because they have more regulation wins. This past weekend I was able to attend the Stars vs. Sharks game. While it wasn’t the game of the year, it was very interesting to see how the Stars looked live.

Before we dive too deep into the potential matchup, let’s chat about American Airlines Arena. I haven’t been to many other arenas besides Ball. So I always pay attention and really enjoy visiting other arenas when I can. I’m interested in the location, the seating levels, the in-game entertainment, the seat cushions, you name it. It’s almost like visiting an open house. Outside of the entrance is a sports plaza with bars, shops and a giant screen to watch the game going on inside. It’s really well done and I could see the place being packed come playoff time. Once you enter the stadium, this is where things get interesting. It felt like a mall. There were escalators everywhere, full-blown restaurants and some really nice bars. They had little decorative airplanes hanging from the ceiling in some of the hallways. It was a nice stadium, don’t get me wrong but it just wasn’t what I expected. If you have been to American Airlines, I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Stars are in a playoff battle for a reason. To me, that reason continues to be great goaltending. Jake Oettinger wasn’t tested a lot but he made key saves throughout the game. One could say, hot goaltending on the other end has been the Avs’ kryptonite in the playoffs. If the Avs were to play the Stars, the team would need to solve the Stars goalies quickly. Oettinger has a 27-13 record with a 2.49 GAA and .915 save percentage. Not half bad.

I haven’t watched much Stars hockey this year but they don’t seem like the same team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals just a couple of years ago and the Avs are a much different team than that awful Game 7 loss in which third-string goalie Michael Hutchinson was in net. While playing the Sharks, what stood out the most was the lack of quality scoring chances there were for San Jose. They had 26 shots on net and a short-handed goal. Other than that, it was a fairly quiet 2-1 game. I feel like the Avs are just too fast and the Stars would have a hard time keeping up, but then again, we’ve said that a lot the last couple of years.

The Stars still have long-time Av rival, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who both found the scorecard on Saturday. Squirrel moment, but how the heck does Benn still skate in 2022 without a visor? It gave me anxiety watching pucks and sticks go flying by his face. Anyway, Benn is one of those guys who can get under the Avs’ skin and draw penalties. This wasn’t a physical game, as the Stars had 19 hits and 20 for the Sharks. But as we know, playoffs bring out the best of everyone and if this was a Stanley Cup matchup, I would imagine those stats being different. On the ice and statistically, the Avs are a better team. From top to bottom, everything says the Avs would breeze through this series if it were to happen. The only…and ONLY matchup that worries me, would be Oettinger catching fire before playoffs and stealing a game or two.

There are a little under two weeks left in the regular season before the fun starts. The Stars are battling for their season while the Avs are just breakin’ records and taking names. Let’s see how everything plays out, but I wouldn’t be too upset about playing the Stars in round one. A little payback for 2020 would be nice.

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Matt Briggle

Great read Kelsey. Hope this can become a somewhat regular feature as you continue your tour around the league. I’ve only been to a couple of NHL arenas in my time and I’m always interested in knowing what those places are like. Next time try to get us some pics if you can.

John Mauss

Good story.

Fritz Kerr

Good stuff, Kelsey. I enjoy hearing about other aspects, such as your impression on their arena.

Peterman

Many players feel better without a visor. ROR is the best example. Girard and Mikko wear it so high, I bet they’d take it off if they were allowed a grandfather extension. Fun fact, former EDM: player, coach, and GM Craig MacTavish was the last player without a helmet. I believe he played until 1997.

Charlie Anderson

The Stars scare me. They are built for playoff hockey. If the refs let them get away with headhunting us the whole series (I bet the refs will), it could be an injury disaster even if we win. Hard pass on Stars, give me any other possible first round opponent please. Hopefully the Stars can pass the Preds, I’d love to play the Preds. 1 vs 8 paybacks on that one for sure.

D Malingo

I’m more worried about Vegas if they can slip into a wild card spot. Would way rather play Dallas, although I agree they would be a tough team, and Oettinger can steal games. The Blues are also concerning, they are flying now, and are built like a playoff team. I think they’ll be a tough team to beat if we play them in the 2nd round.

Svein Lister

Nice article Kelsey. Scouting of potential first round opponents would be a great theme over the next couple of weeks.

I have a question: If the Stars and the Preds get the wild card spots, does the higher ranked team “transfer” to the Pacific division bracket, no matter what the results are in the first round? I.e. if the Preds beat the Flames, would they play the winner of the Kings/Oil series, even if those teams are both lower ranked than any of the teams left in the Central bracket (assuming the Avs win their series)?

Bob Neal

Nice article Kelsey with an interesting twist. I hope if the Av’s play the Stars in a first round match up they come prepared for a physical matchup and don’t think they will just outscore them while also keeping Pavelski in check.

Dwayne Hall

Safe to say living in the DFW area I’ve been to more than my fair share of games at the AAC. Outside of having to be around Stars fans I usually never dread going there. For the longest time after it was built it was nice and visible when you drove by on I-35. Too bad they’ve built too much around it that it’s starting to get hidden. The Stars scare me because you never know what Stars team you’re going to get. We saw that play out in the home and home when the Avs made them look third… Read more »

Donald Victory

Stars in Edmonton and Calgary next two games and I think they will split these tought matches. Dallas will finish the season with four at home against the Krakheads, GoldenShowers, Coyotes, and Ducks. They should win three of the four. So eight points, so 99 when all said and done.  Preds have five games remaining. At TBL, loss, home to Wild and Flamers, split, and on the road in HAvs and Arizona, so split. So Preds earn four out of 10 points. Finish with 97. So the Stars leap the Preds.  Now the GoldenShowers have five games remaining. The Crapitals tonight should beat them based on their recent… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Donald Victory

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